Yesterday we blogged about EPCs. Today we’re updating you on the need for those all-important gas safety checks during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The HSE is under pressure to extend gas safety certificates from 12-18 months to reduce the number of engineers visiting people’s homes and prevent further spread of Coronavirus. But despite lobbying from the gas industry the Government is yet to grant an extension and this week the HSE reiterated that gas safety checks must still be carried out in order to protect tenants’ safety. This is felt to be particularly important at a time when most people are spending all their time at home.
Previous guidance from the HSE said that landlords must show they have taken “reasonable steps” to attempt to gain access to a property where they have been denied access due to tenants self-isolating. Now, the HSE, via the Gas Safe Register, has published guidance to show what those “reasonable steps” would look like across a range of different scenarios.
- Tenant and family are socially distancing – they have no symptoms but deny access. Landlords must show they have taken reasonable steps including leaving the tenant a notice explaining that an attempt was made and write to the tenant explaining that it is a legal requirement. A record of all communication must be kept.
- Tenant’s household is in isolation or has a vulnerable or shielded person but has contacted regarding a gas emergency. Landlords should ask what the emergency is and tell them to switch off appliances until an engineers has attended. When visiting the property, the engineer must adhere to government guidance on working in people’s homes.
- A gas safety check is due but landlords are unable to secure an engineer due to staff shortages. If the usual gas engineer will not carry out the gas safety checks, the organisation should contact an alternative registered gas engineer businesses to secure their services.
- Your landlord gas safety check expires in two months and there may be difficulties engaging a gas engineer or dealing with tenants in self-isolation. Landlords are encouraged to arrange gas safety checks as early as possible, the two-month period to carry out annual gas safety checks should provide adequate resilience in most situations.
There is more advice for landlords on the Gas Safety Register website here.
The HSE says that each property should be considered on a case-by-case basis and when gas engineers are unavailable landlords must take reasonable steps to obtain alternative services. Where this is not possible, landlords must prioritise based on age of appliances, previous work carried out, breakdown history, presence of carbon monoxide alarms, and whether the tenant is considered vulnerable.
Our PlanetRent app reminds landlords when gas safety and other statutory checks are due. PlanetRent is lettings automated – you can track compliance effortlessly and keep all your records easily accessible and all in one place. Why not take a look today. Sign up now – it’s free!